Tell an Italian you’re going to Genoa, otherwise known as Genova, and the response ranges from surprise to unrestrained shock. Compared to Italian delights nearby – the still beauty of Lake Como, the buzzing life in Bologna, the culinary delights in Modena – Genoa is seen to fall short in tourist attractions. “It’s not beautiful,” a well meaning Italian will implore, comparing it to the rustic charm of Tuscany. That’s partly because Genoa, Italy’s busiest port town, has only begun to open itself up to tourism, a move prompted in 1997 for an exhibition celebrating its most famous resident, Christopher Columbus.
But never mind the naysayers – Genoa is a rough diamond for a curious traveller.